Erring on the Side of Caution with IBD

Last updated: March 2021

I learned at a very young age that I wasn’t invincible and I honestly wish I hadn’t figured that out so soon in my life. Being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 13 made me lose my innocence. It changed my childhood in such a negative way.

While other teenagers were able to be care-free and think the biggest problem they had to deal with was a pimple, I had to worry about things like picc lines, drains and my ostomy leaking. It wasn’t fair.

It also made me such a cautious person.

I was never a risk taker by nature but I feel like it has definitely pushed me even more in the direction of someone who airs on the side of caution.

For example, I was talking to my mom the other day about vacations and she brought up a cruise. I haven’t been on a vacation in 19 years (not exaggerating!) so talking about this was fun and exciting for me. I was very much in the “whatever works for everyone else” camp until she asked what I thought about a cruise.

In my mind, if there was no way for me to get adequate medical help, I couldn’t be okay with signing on for it. It scares me that I feel such a need to be in a close proximity to a hospital “just in case.” I would love more than anything to not have to think about these things. I would love more than anything to have a care-free attitude about most things.

I can’t even eat in front of most people because it puts me on edge. And going out to eat or eating in the company of close friends and/or family is a huge deal in most people’s lives. It is an enjoyable time, for most people. But for me and I know others reading this, it causes a lot of anxiety. Between embarrassing noises and the unpredictability of the bathroom situation, plus possibility of pain or an obstruction, it kind of takes the magic out of it.

I have been trying lately to change the way I have been eating.

I miss certain foods and wanted to give them a chance again. I learned rather quickly that whenever I change things up in the food department, my insides become a mess. Thus, my mind becomes a mess as well.

It is just difficult for people who have had to live with a chronic illness at such a young age. It can cause a lot of fear. It can also make us feel so much older than we are. There is so much to living with a disease like Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis and I wanted to share some of these thoughts in case anyone else may be feeling them too. Validation always helped me. :)

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

What has been the most helpful for managing IBD symptoms?